In the "oil war" between Russia and Belarus there was an invisible turning point. Minsk switched to a trial purchase of oil from Norway, while complaining that Moscow was preventing it from pumping “black gold” from Kazakhstan. What has fundamentally changed in reality?
Outwardly, everything looks like a bargain of business entities. Russia is conducting the so-called tax maneuver in the oil industry, as a result of which Belarus will begin to receive raw materials at world prices. At the same time, domestic refineries will receive compensation from the budget, while Belarusian refineries will not. The fraternal republic has built a very successful business on the processing of Russian raw materials obtained as an ally with significant discounts. Soon this situation will change, and President Lukashenko is trying to knock out the same conditions for his enterprises from the Kremlin as for domestic ones.
The annual oil requirements of Belarus are estimated at 20 million tons. Alexander G. stated the need for diversification of hydrocarbon supplies. According to his estimates, Russia should account for only 30-40% of oil, Ukraine - 30%, and the remaining 30% - for transit through the Baltic states. Within the framework of this “import substitution” program, Minsk purchased 80 thousand tons of “black gold” from Norway, which will go from the new deposit through the Lithuanian Klaipeda. This is estimated at approximately 3 days of work at Belarusian refineries.
This is the outer side of the most important political processes. But the profound changes in relations between Russia and Belarus are much more interesting.
Previously we told that the oil problem is a veiled question of the future Union State. Minsk carefully avoids fulfilling its integration obligations within the framework of the signed agreement, while trying to get the maximum of preferences out of Moscow. The acuteness of the problem was added by the fact that the Union State was considered by the Kremlin as one of the options for keeping Vladimir Putin in power after the end of his presidential term in 2024.
But now a lot has changed. Immediately after the Epistle to the Federal Assembly on January 15, it became clear that in the Kremlin towers it was decided to take a different path. The rewriting of the Constitution of the Russian Federation “under Putin” is being prepared at an accelerated pace, as a result of which a fourth, the State Council, will appear instead of the three usual branches of power. It is him, as it appears, and will be headed by Vladimir Vladimirovich. The State Council, most likely, will take all the main levers of governing the country.
The decision is very controversial, given that it will lead to an imbalance in the traditional management system and the emergence of actual dual power. As a result, it will be unclear who is more important - the president or head of the State Council, and those offended by the infringement of their privileges, the "elites" who have long integrated into the familiar "power vertical" can no longer rely on Putin. What this may end as a result of the active influence of external forces is easy to imagine. However, we are a little distracted from the subject of discussion.
The fact is that the choice of a scenario with the State Council removes the urgency of the question regarding the timing of the creation of a real Union state. Understanding everything perfectly, President Lukashenko actively used this trump card in negotiations. It would seem that everything, he won, rested. But no.
Domestic oligarchs still have views of Belarus. Экономическая integration will give them the opportunity to improve their affairs through privatization and the purchase of enterprises of the Union Republic, this is obvious. However, now it’s possible to put pressure on Minsk without too much haste, “recalling” his previous stubbornness. So, President Lukashenko said on the eve that Moscow refused to supply oil through Kazakhstan from his territory.
Belarus has nowhere to go especially far from Russia. Oil can easily be bought on the world market, but it will simply be more expensive, which means that Belarusian refineries will start operating at a loss, which will undoubtedly affect the industry as a whole. Russia itself will be able to sell the released oil to other interested parties.